The Content Byte
I have teamed up with Rachel Smith (from Rachel's List) to co-host the weekly podcast, The Content Byte, serving up weekly short bites of advice, tips and strategies for freelancers who make a living from using their words.
Just 30 minutes every week (with the occasional guest), these are practical tips delivered in an informal and informative way.
Episode 7: When (and why) to end a client relationship
Life's too short to work for clients who pay you peanuts, make you miserable, refuse to respect your boundaries, or give you work that's just not a good fit for you. If you're getting that 'pit of dread' in your stomach when you see the client's email pop up in your inbox (or their name come in on your phone), it's time to assess whether you should take them off your roster - and open the door to better clients. Because they always DO come along! This episode features stories from the Rachel's List Facebook Gold community - about freelancers who said buh-bye to clients and were much happier for it.
Episode 6: Campbell Mattinson on wine writing and finally publishing his 30-year-old manuscript
Successful freelance writer Campbell Mattinson talks about how he secured the perfect gig – wine writing. In his chat with host Lynne Testoni, he also shared:
How he copes with the delivery of 30 bottles of wine a day
The changes in wine writing over the years
How he finally published the novel that had been in his bottom drawer for 30 years
How photography has made him a better writer
Episode 5: Creating great website content with Emma McMillan
This week, we chat with successful freelancer Emma McMillan about creating quality website content that brings results. We chat about:
What is different about writing for websites
Whether it's a good niche to be in
What key elements that people forget to include in their websites
How to price website content
Episode 4: What you need to know to get a book deal, with editor and publisher Rebecca Kaiser from Allen and Unwin
Does everyone have a book in them? It's just one of the questions we put to editor and publisher Rebecca Kaiser, who joins us on the podcast to talk about ... so much! Including:
How book publishing has changed in 30 years
Her biggest publishing successes, what 'success' in book publishing actually means
The books that have gone gangbusters and what it's like when you think a book will do well and it doesn't
Tips on finding an agent for your book
Episode 3: The power of following up on pitches and with clients
How good are you at following up on story pitches or with new clients? If you could do better, you're in good company: apparently, 48 per cent of us never make a single follow-up attempt. Another 44 per cent follow up, but give up after one follow-up call. And yet, 80 per cent of sales require FIVE follow-ups!
Episode 2: How collaborating can help to grow your business, with Jessica Ruhfus
Collaborating with other freelancers or small businesses can be a rocket-launcher to growth you couldn't achieve otherwise. Trouble is, it's tricky to get it right, and to know how to approach other brands you might like to team up with. In this episode, we chat to Jess Ruhfus from Collabosaurus, a match-making, marketing platform that connects brands keen to collaborate.
Episode 1: Everything you need to know about UX copywriting, with Susan Reoch
If you’re a writer thinking about edging into UX, you’ll find this episode with UX copywriter Susan Reoch both fascinating AND super helpful. We chat to Susan about
what UX actually means and how this emerging area is a great one to consider if you’re a writer looking to upskill.
Episode 12: Starting and running a content agency, with Jac Taylor from Crucible Content
How do you go from freelancing to running your own content agency? Great question - and in this episode it's one we put to Crucible Content's Jac Taylor, who talks us through why she decided to scale her business, how she did it, the challenges she faced and the digital tools she swears by.
Episode 11: Using analytics to build a digital audience with taste.com.au’s Laura Simpson
This week's guest is Laura Simpson, the digital director of mass food at News Corp AU, working across taste.com.au and Australia's Best Recipes, where she oversees digital content commissioning, social media and content strategy. She chats with Rachel and Lynne about creating content using data and analytics and what it takes to stay number one in a category. Great insights about insights!
Episode 10: Taking the mystery out of the sales process - with Richard Gray
Many writers are scared of sales - and the hustle. In this week's episode, the first of 2022, high-level salesman Richard Gray takes hosts Rachel and Lynne through the sales process, shares his tips about selling, plus talks about cold calls and how to close a sale without sounding desperate or sleezy.
Episode 9: All your questions about LinkedIn, with Jillian Bullock
You asked, we delivered... We have a LinkedIn Ninja on the podcast. Expert Jillian Bullock talks about LinkedIn's new newsletter feature, whether a premium subscription is worth it as well as great lead-generation strategies using the platform.
Episode 8: Recovering when you've stuffed up, with John Burfitt
Let's face it, we are all human – and we are likely to make a mistake (or two) over the course of our freelance career. But how do you recover from a big stuff-up? Long-time freelancer John Burfitt joins us to chat about how to come back from a mistake and regain trust with editors and clients.
Episode 7: Productivity and sustainability for freelancers, with Elana Robertson
When you freelance, the lines between home and work can easily blur - and burnout can be just around the corner. So if you feel like you need to tweak how you run your business, tune in to our chat with executive coach Elana Robertson from foundher, who shares strategies for refining your work rituals and building a more sustainable freelance business.
Episode 6: Need a freelancer CV? Here's what to consider
We typically tend to think of CVs as something you use in order to get your next permanent role - but do freelancers need one? In some cases, yes; an online portfolio just won't be enough (especially if you do agency work), so it's a good idea to have one ready to send. In this short episode, we chat about:
What freelancer CVs are
How they differ from traditional CVs
Creating a freelancer CV for yourself
Design, sections, tone of voice
What else you need to know
Episode 5: Digital Nutrition with Jocelyn Brewer
Overwhelmed with the amount of time you spend on screens? Jocelyn Brewer talks to Rachel and Lynne about digital nutrition and how freelancers can find a balance between the demands of technology and time away from computers and phones. Jocelyn is a cyber-psychologist and a digital wellbeing expert, who has practical tips on conquering our love-hate relationship with technology.
Episode 4: Sophie Cross and the Freelancer magazine journey
Digging deep into freelance communities in London after she’d lost a lot of her work during the pandemic inspired freelance marketing strategist and copywriter Sophie Cross to do something no one’s ever really done: start a magazine by freelancers, for freelancers. In this chat with Sophie, she shares how the idea came to her, how it’s taken over her life (and her work!), the future of the magazine and much more.
Episode 3: How to take a client brief on a new project
Freelancers who start to do a lot of client work will soon realise they’ll be taking lots of briefs - and while you can do it in person, on Zoom or over the phone, you can also send a client brief template to your clients as well. In this episode, we chat about what you need to consider when taking a brief.
Episode 2: Survival Skills for Freelancers with copywriter and author Sarah Townsend
This week we talk to Sarah Townsend, a UK-based copywriter and the bestselling author of Survival Skills for Freelancers, a book that’s fast becoming THE bible for anyone starting out working for themselves. Find out:
What inspired the book and how she got it out there
The pitfalls of freelancing, such as letting clients become your mini bosses, taking on work that’s not a good fit for you
Why community’s so important and how to find your people
Episode 1: Yes, you should raise your rates (and how to do it)
Do you live in terror of asking for more money? Many freelancers do, and in this episode we cover why we need to get to grips with raising our rates (regularly) and the best way to do it. We also talk about:
Why we're so nervous about raising our rates
Why most clients prefer to pay you more than replace you
The best times to start thinking about raising your rates
The best ways to do it (and why it's not on the phone)
Episode 12: Freelancer Monique Butterworth on how to make a living in the world of celebrity journalism
Another episode in our series on successful freelancers, talking to writer Monique Butterworth, who has carved out a niche in entertainment journalism and copywriting.
Episode 11: Social media tips to help freelancers grow their businesses, with Sam McFarlane
Are you a freelancer with a sneaky suspicion that you could be managing your social media better, or more effectively? Join the club: there are a lot of us out there. And in this episode, we ask Sam McFarlane from social media management consultancy, Sam Says for her tips on what we SHOULD be doing to build our freelance businesses. She talks about choosing your social platforms, mistakes to avoid, why you need a content calendar, posts that can bring engagement and much more.
Episode 10: How freelancers can get more agency work, with Clare Brundle from Heads and Tales Content Agency
If you endear yourself to a content agency that pays well, and offers you regular, interesting work, you're onto a good wicket as a freelancer. But how can you get your foot in the door in the first place? In this episode, we ask Clare Brundle, managing director at Hardie Grant's Heads and Tales Content Agency, for her tips - and her advice is essential for anyone looking to pick up work in the content marketing and custom publishing world.
Episode 9: Michelle Bateman on beauty writing and building a career in editorial, content and copywriting
There’s always so much to learn from successful freelancers, and our interview with freelance writer and editor Michelle Bateman is a case in point. Michelle specialises in beauty, fashion and culture – and in this bumper chat, we talk to Michelle about how she became a beauty writer. She also shares amazing tips and advice for carving out a successful career in editorial, content and copywriting.
Episode 8: Sara Mulcahy on having the best year of her work life after moving across the country
By design, freelancers do have more freedom to live and work in other locations - even if you worry you might lose clients or become 'out of sight, out of mind'. That wasn't the case for editor and journalist Sara Mulcahy, who decided to move her family and freelance business to Far North Queensland just after Covid hit. And as it happened, she enjoyed her best financial year yet. We chat to Sara about finding work, maintaining relationships with clients back home, and much more.
Episode 7: Getting paid as a freelancer, with debt collector Paul Metcalf from Collectmore
Do you struggle to get paid as a freelancer? Need some strategies to ensure clients don’t ignore your invoices? You’re in luck. In this episode, we’re talking to Collectmore’s Paul Metcalf, a nationally renowned debt collection expert. In this episode, Paul shares client red flags, how to set boundaries and protect yourself, his #1 strategy for getting late invoices paid, and much more.
Episode 6: Leads: Our top 10 ways to get more of them
As freelancers, we all want more lovely leads coming to us - right? Enquiries popping into our inbox. Potential clients approaching us on social media. Prospects ringing us straight from Google. And if things have been at bit barren in your business lately, we've got a heap of great things to try to get things moving again.
Episode 5: Everything you need to know about virtual assistants
Fiona Campbell from Thought Penny talks to us about virtual assistants. When you need one, when you don't - and how to find one.
Episode 4: Lucy Kippist on lessons learned from working with small businesses
Freelancers are essentially small businesses - even if we don't typically think of ourselves that way. This episode with journalist and community manager Lucy Kippist, sheds so much light on being a small business AND working with other small businesses. We chat to Lucy about what she learned from successful business owners, how freelancers can add value to small business clients, the productivity tips and systems that work for her, and much more.
Episode 3: Making a successful living in magazines, with comedy writer David Smiedt
Making the bulk of your living from magazine commissions is a rarity for most freelancers these days - but not for writer and author David Smiedt. He's currently contributing editor at GQ Australia, list editor at escape.com.au and a columnist at The Rake and Home Beautiful - plus he's a stand-up comic. We chat to David about how he maintains a living as a magazine writer, why he considers himself an artisan (rather than an artist), his tips for staying on an editor's speed-dial - and lots more!
Episode 2: Melanie Padgett Powers, US-based healthcare writer and podcaster, shares the secrets of her success
Becoming disillusioned with a staff job has been the springboard for many a freelance journey, including that of US-based healthcare writer Melanie Padgett Powers. In this week's episode, Mel chats to us about how she runs her business, finds clients and what prompted her to start her fantastic podcast, Deliberate Freelancer. We also talk about how she prices projects, the strategy she used to pick up thousands of dollars of work during the pandemic, the power of time-tracking and much more.
Episode 1: Building a successful freelance business and making good money, with Lindy Alexander
Freelance writer Lindy Alexander didn’t start out as a writer, but she has carved out a $100K+ freelance writing business that’s made her the envy of freelancers everywhere. We chat to her about how she started, some of her systems and processes, and her tips for success. In this bumper episode, find out why having a niche isn't all it's cracked up to be, how to find more high-paying clients, get more pitches over the line and much more.
Episode 12: Successful freelancers: Belinda Weaver
We talk with Belinda Weaver, cohost of the Hot Copy podcast and copywriter extraordinaire about how she created a successful freelance copywriting career, created a supportive community for copywriters and developed courses for those wishing to learn the trade or upskill. We chat about things such as: how copywriters can command higher rates, how to write faster and her advice to anyone wishing to have a career in copywriting.
Episode 11: How being known for your writing tone and style can bring you content clients, with Shane Cubis
The goal for any freelancer is to have a full pipeline, working on projects that interest and excite you. Melbourne-based writer Shane Cubis is doing just that - and in our continuing series of successful freelancers, he chats to us about his very interesting career trajectory, his tips for freelancers starting out, what you should do if you want to flex your funny bone as a writer, and much more.
Episode 10: Top tips from successful freelancers: Carrie Hutchinson
Earning a decent living as a freelancer is within your reach - but how? In this jam-packed episode of tips, info and strategies, we talk to Melbourne-based freelancer Carrie Hutchinson about how she has carved out a thriving freelance career across print magazines, copywriting clients and corporate gigs, with a particular focus on travel and lifestyle.
Episode 9: Moving countries and carving out a freelance business from scratch, with Jessica Mudditt
After living overseas for many years, returning home and facing the prospect of freelancing with no contacts and no local experience can be extremely tough. Jessica Mudditt, author of Our Home in Myanmar, did just that - and in this episode we chat about how her new book came about; the challenges of building a freelance business from the ground up after leaving Asia and returning to Australia - and how she navigates freelancing around her two young daughters.
Episode 8: Your guide to doing case studies for content clients
Case studies can be a convincing form of social proof for content clients – and can be a valuable addition to your writing services. In this week's episode, we talk about the following:
The types of case studies clients want
How they stack up compared to other content marketing
Our tips for finding customers for interview case studies
What we charge for case studies and why
Creating case studies for your own website
Episode 7: Offering lead magnets as a service to your content clients
We've all downloaded a lead magnet or two (those irresistible freebies offered on a website in exchange for your email address). But what makes a good lead magnet? How much should you charge to a client to write an ebook or white paper? In this episode, we talk about:
What lead magnets are and why they're important to a content strategy
Why a great lead magnet will always aim to solve a problem
A range of different lead magnet ideas
How to quote for one (and what we've been paid)
Episode 6: Things you should never say to writers
This week Rachel and Lynne decided to mix it up and have a bit of fun. Inspired by an email that Rachel received from a client, we talk about some of the hilarious feedback we have had from clients and editors because you have got to laugh sometimes - or it could all get you down. We have a few classic comments of our own to share and we also decided to open it up to the Rachel’s List Gold Community group on Facebook for their stories. Listen and let us know how many resonate with you!
Episode 5: How to build a customer base as a small business or freelancer
How DO you get customers and build a solid financial footing when you’re starting out as a freelancer or small business (or are stuck in a slow patch)? This week, we chat to Rounded co-founder and COO Oliver Garside about the strategies Rounded used, and how they might relate to freelancers seeking clients and customers. Oliver also shares some tips on making EOFY less stressful for freelancers.
Episode 4: Offering content strategy as a writer
Getting stuck into the strategy for a client, advising them on how to improve or repurpose their content (or even scrap their current strategy and create something better), isn't just rewarding. It can mean charging more, too! In this episode, we chat to PR, communications and marketing director Alexandra Kentmann, who's strategised for a heap of top-shelf brands during her career. She shares how she works, what's involved in offering strategy, digital tools she loves and much more.
Episode 3: Why content writers and other freelancers need a Google My Business listing (and how to use it to your advantage)
While your own freelance website is very important, optimising your Google My Business (GMB) profile is absolutely critical if you want to maximise your visibility online and bring warm leads your way. In this episode, we chat to digital marketing consultant Katie Hull about how to make your GMB profile the best it can be.
Episode 2: 5 tricky content clients and how to handle them
The longer you freelance, the more likely you are to come across a tricky or challenging client. Clients who try to bargain you down. Who are so disorganised they throw out timelines on other projects. Or clients who just want to micro-manage everything down to the last detail. This week, we talk about our approaches to five typical 'tricky' clients and what works for us.
Episode 1: How Pinterest can bring you new content clients
This week Rachel & Lynne are talking about something that has intrigued me for a while – Pinterest, the social media that you might not be aware of and how powerful it is with guest, Simone Pavils, a Pinterest specialist.
Episode 12: 7 Things you must have on your website
This week Rachel and Lynne are talking about your biggest marketing tool – your website! Website developer Jude Love from Love Communications talks all things websites and what creatives need to include.
Episode 11: The digital tools we love and use the most
In this episode, Lynne and Rachel share their favourite tools, including idea generators, transcription services and phrase finders.
Episode 10: Rebekah Lambert on running a Facebook group (without it taking over your life)
How can you build a successful FB group, keep people talking - and stop it taking over your life in the process? In this episode, we chat with Freelance Jungle founder Rebekah Lambert, who shares her incredible tips and strategies for starting and running a thriving FB group - and dealing with the inevitable community management issues that may crop up along the way.
Episode 9: 10 essential tips to make you a better writer
Does your writing need work? In this episode, we share ten essential tips for making your writing better, including:
How to make it accessible
Why you should ditch filler and fluff words
How much time to spend on your opener and closing para
How to train your editors not to touch your copy
... and much more
Episode 8: How to manage multiple projects and deadlines
As a freelancer, you're probably always juggling a few different projects, with some weeks busier than others. And if you don't have systems in place to track how you're going and meet your deadlines, things can get hairy, fast. In this episode, Lynne and Rachel talk about the different ways we juggle our workload, the systems we've created to ensure deadlines are met, and how we assess whether we can fit another project in.
Episode 7: Moving from magazines to content government work, with Nigel Bartlett
With the last year bringing so much uncertainty to the media industry, many journalists are choosing to parlay their skills into content roles in the public sector - and what's not to love? Job security, a regular paycheck and super make this an attractive proposition. But what do you need to know before you take the leap? Journo Nigel Bartlett, who's currently working as a content designer in a government role, joins us to share his tips.
Episode 6: How to deal with low-paying clients
Low-paying clients. We've all been there as freelancers - so how do you deal with it? In this episode, we cover several scenarios:
What to do if you're offered work then told the rate is ridiculously low
How to raise your rates with low-paying clients you already have
How to weed out low-paying clients from the get-go, without wasting time
How to educate clients about market rates
Episode 5: The Easy Way to Network with guest Tory Archbold
This week, Rachel and Lynne talk all about how we can build up a powerful network with a special guest – Tory Archbold. Networking! Sometimes that is a word that drives fear into people’s hearts, but we think that Tory Archbold has a great take on it. She calls it connecting rather than networking and has developed some easy and introvert-friendly ways to connect with people – and help those connections to take your business to the next level.
Episode 4: How to repurpose and reuse content
This week Lynne and Rachel share their tips and tricks on how to repurpose and reuse content, without plagiarising.
Episode 3: How journalists can reinvent themselves in this market, with careers coach Jane Jackson
With the last year bringing so much uncertainty to the media industry, both Rachel and I have known a few former colleagues who have moved to onto other roles – and even whole new careers. However, it can be a tricky switch, so in this episode we're chatting to careers coach Jane Jackson about making that step.
Episode 2: How to build a community through newsletters, with Sophie Hansen
Newsletters are big bikkies right now – so how do you create one that people want to open week after week? In this episode, that’s a question we put to Sophie Hansen, creator of the Monday morning missive 5 Things To Be Cheerful About. Sophie shares the story of starting the newsletter, why she chose the format she did, and how she grew her audience. Plus, if you’re considering starting your own newsletter, you’ll get Sophie’s great tips and advice on how to do it and get that all-important momentum.
Episode 1: What 2020 taught us – and what we’re doing differently
We talk about what we have learnt during 2020 – and how it has made our work better. Last year took us out of our comfort zones, but it wasn’t all bad. We each share our tips on what we are doing differently because of the pandemic.
BONUS EPISODE: Our favourite tips from the year that’s been
It’s been a great year of stellar guests … and in this bonus Christmas episode, we each share our top five tips and moments from the year that’s been. Plus, find out the episodes in our back catalogue we really think are worth a listen. Merry Christmas!
Episode 12: What DO editors want? We chat to editorial director Kerrie McCallum from delicious. and Escape about life in the hot seat
It’s no secret that media has been doing it very tough for several years now, with magazine closures and redundancies across the board. Add in a pandemic and it’s been the year from hell for editors, staff and freelancers alike. So how has a magazine like delicious. just gone from strength to strength? And what do you do when you’re editorial director of a travel brand like Escape during a time when no one’s getting on a plane? We chat to Kerrie McCallum about all of the above and more, plus what she looks for from freelancers these days.
Episode 11: Your guide to successful pitching, with journalist and teacher John Burfitt
Pitching. It’s something we all need to be doing as freelance writers if we want to ensure our pipeline of work is always full. And in today’s episode, we welcome veteran journo and university lecturer John Burfitt to share his pitching system, ways to generate ideas, tips on following up and dealing with rejection, and much, much more. A must-listen if you want more pitching success and regular commissions landing in your in-box.
Episode 10: How we balance freelancing and family
In this episode, we talk about our experiences freelancing and working around children – the childcare we’ve chosen and why, the government help we’ve tapped into and other interesting tips for freelancers who may be thinking about starting a family.
Episode 9: Why freelancers should blog to get work (and what to blog about) with Brook McCarthy
Are you a freelancer with a website who struggles to blog regularly? This week, we have a longer episode for you that’s packed with gold from digital marketer and trainer Brook McCarthy of Hustle & Heart. Brook talks to us about why blogging is so essential, the mistakes writers make when blogging and topics we should be considering. Plus so much more.
Episode 8: From publishing to not-for-profit work, with guest Nicola Conville
A shrinking media landscape was one of the reasons journalist Nicola Conville started to explore other career options – and she’d always wanted to work for in the NFP sector. In this episode, she shares how she got her job as a content manager at the UNHCR, which skills of hers have been most useful, and her advice for other journos at the career crossroads.
Episode 7: How to set up a home office
Whether you’re renovating and creating a dedicated home office for yourself, or just carving out a corner for a workspace – this episode is all about bringing the elements together and creating a space you want to work in.
Episode 6: Turning your side hustle into a full-time business with Jen Bishop from Interiors Addict
This week we’re excited to chat to journalist and founder of The Interiors Addict Jen Bishop, whose one-time passion project has become an incredibly successful interiors website. She spills the beans on her milestone moments, why she doesn’t pay much attention to SEO, lessons she’s learned and why she thinks journos should be taking advantage of the huge content marketing industry. Plus a whole heap more!
Episode 5: Tips, tricks and tools for creating great headlines
Whether you’re writing a print story or a piece for digital, the headline is all-important. In this episode, we explain the differences between each, share our tips for writing great headlines including those requiring keywords and list our favourite online headline tools to speed up the headline writing process.
Episode 4: What freelancers need to know about Instagram with Sara Tasker
Instagram is more than just pretty pictures - it can be an effective way of getting work too. We talk to Sara Tasker of MeandOrla and Hashtag Authentic about Instagram and how to make it work for you as a freelancer.
Episode 3: Your ultimate guide to recording and transcribing interviews
If you do a lot of interviews for editors or clients, you need cost-effective, time-saving systems that work for you. In this episode, we talk about the tools, apps and services we’ve used and the ones we go back to again and again.
Episode 2: Stuck in a slump? Here’s how to get your mojo back
It’s been a crappy year and many of us have lost work, faced extended lockdowns and isolation, and suffered poor mental health to boot. If that’s you, what steps can you take to feel better? In this episode, we talk about what works for us to boost mood, motivation and a sense of positivity.
Episode 1: Talking JobKeeper with accountant Holly Shoebridge – what you need to know right now
JobKeeper payments are changing in the coming weeks, and many freelancers know what a minefield it can be! If you’re relying on it to prop up your income right now, accountant Holly Shoebridge of Oceans Accounting shares all the information you need to know in this week’s episode.
Episode 12: Your starter guide to sourcing images
Today’s writers often need to provide more than just words – they need to be multi-skilled. This week hosts Rachel and Lynne talk all about sourcing the best images to accompany your text, offering advice and tips on where to find great free and paid stock photos, as well as how to commission photographers.
Episode 11: Niches: Yes, they’re important AND can help you charge more
Can being very specific about the niches you operate in help bring you higher-paying clients? Especially when it comes to content marketing? Many experts in this space say yes, and today we’re talking about how to isolate your niches and market yourself more effectively.
Episode 10: On-boarding systems for clients and why you need them
We know, on-boarding doesn’t sound like the sexiest topic – but if you’re putting new clients on your schedule, having seamless systems in place will save you time, money and a world of pain down the track. We talk about how we devised our own on-boarding systems, the mistakes we made and why it’s essential to keep tweaking and making your systems better.
Episode 9: Starting a content business, with Nigel Bowen
It’s been nearly a decade since journalist Nigel Bowen left magazines to carve out a new path in content marketing. In this episode, we chat to him about how he started his business, Content Sherpa, and why he loves being ‘captain of his own ship’. Nigel also shares some tips on finding clients and dealing with the never-ending hustle, and his advice for freelancers starting out.
Episode 8: Internships…good for your career, or exploitative?
Are you starting off in your career and looking at an internship? This week Rachel and Lynne talk about unpaid internships – and share tips on how to find the good ones and how to make them work for you.
Episode 7: We chat to Wendy Moore about moving from print to TV
Do print journos have transferrable skills for broadcast? In this episode, we put that question to Wendy Moore, the head of Foxtel’s Lifestyle Channels, a former House Rules on-camera judge – and a highly experienced editor and publisher with over 20 years in print herself. (She’s also the sister of one of us!) Find out why print journos are ‘doers’, the skills you need to work in TV and much more.
Episode 6: Mentors – finding one, using one, being one
If you’re at the start of your career, having a trusted mentor to advice and guide you can be invaluable. But mentors aren’t just for when you’re starting out; even experienced freelancers may benefit from different mentors at various stages of their career. In this episode, we talk about the ins and outs of mentoring, what mentoring is and what it isn’t, and where to find a good one.
Episode 5: Pricing: different methods and what works for us
How DO you price projects as a freelancer? Should it be by the word, by the hour, by the day? What’s value-based pricing? And when do you opt for a retainer agreement? In this episode, we run through some common pricing structures freelancers use (and what we use) to help you out.
Episode 4: How writers can get results on LinkedIn, with guest John Espirian
Want to know how to harness the power of the LinkedIn platform in order to get noticed / find more clients? In this episode, self-confessed LinkedIn nerd and technical copywriter John Espirian shares a heap of valuable tips and tricks. Listen in for essential profile tweaks, the kind of content to write (and why the algorithm favours comments), the dangers of automating posts, whether premium accounts are worth it, tapping into the silent jobs market, finding clients to reach out to and much more.
Episode 3: Think weeks: what are they and why do you need one?
Ever since we read about Bill Gates’ penchant for think weeks – a 7-day solo stay to read, think and come up with ideas without distractions – we’ve loved the idea. In this episode, we talk about how to plan your own ‘think week’ for your business, what to take and whether you should invite a co-thinker along with you.
Episode 2: Finding content marketing clients with Jennifer Goforth Gregory
We talk to content marketing queen Jennifer Goforth Gregory about moving from journalism to content marketing, why it’s so important to have niches, positioning yourself to clients and agencies as a subject matter expert and her three-pronged approach to marketing yourself. She also shares a rough script on how to write an LOI (and why it’s just a starting point and not the ‘whole date’).
Episode 1: Why interviewing is an essential skill – and our top tips
New to interviewing people for stories or content pieces? Or perhaps you’ve been interviewing people for a while but want to get better at it? In this episode, we talk about why it’s such an important skill (and one in danger of being lost) and our tips for doing a great interview.
Episode 12: Moving into content marketing with guest Claire Bradley from content agency Suddenly
In today’s episode, we talk to Claire Bradley, Head of Content at content agency Sudden.ly (an off-shoot of News Corp). She talks to us about what content marketing clients want, what she looks for in good freelancers, transferrable skills journos have that they can bring to content marketing and much more.
Episode 11: 6 things you need to do as soon as you start freelancing
Whether you’ve been forced into freelancing from a redundancy or recently made the decision to start working for yourself, it can be a learning curve. In this episode, we share the 6 things we think you need to do to get set up, establish your systems and start earning money.
Episode 10: Why it’s a great time to do an online course (and what to consider)
Found yourself with less work and more time on your hands? During coronavirus, many online courses are free or heavily discounted, making now a great time to plug the gaps in your skillset. We share our experiences and let you know about a master list of courses to get you started.
Episode 9: Awkward conversations: How to deal with them as a freelancer
The longer you’re in business, the more clients you’ll come across – and the more awkward conversations you may need to have. In this episode we look at some common freelance issues that can crop up as part of your client management and suggest ways to handle each scenario.
Episode 8: How to write faster so you can make more money
Want to be able to write content faster so you can take on more work and make more money? In this episode we share a heap of time-saving strategies that we use ourselves – and explain why they help to ramp up your output.
Episode 7: 8 ways to find work you may not have considered
Whether it’s spruiking yourself on your socials, building a Reddit profile, finding new outlets to pitch to or teaming up with other creatives, here are eight ways to pick up work you might not have tried.
Episode 6: Essential SEO for content writers, featuring Kate Toon
We’re stoked to bring our first ever guest, SEO queen Kate Toon, to this podcast episode. We chat to Kate about what journos, copywriters and content producers need to know about SEO, why it’s essential to have an understanding of it if you’re writing for content clients and how you can get started and build on your knowledge as you go. A must-listen if you’ve put SEO into the ‘too hard’ basket!
Episode 5: How content marketing can pay the bills
If you’re looking for an income stream beyond journalism, content marketing could be just the ticket – it’s a form of marketing writing that’s designed to generate interest in a brand or its products or services. And it’s an easy transition for anyone used to writing features for a living. In this episode, we talk about what content marketing is, how to find this type of work and what it pays.
Episode 4: A freelancer’s guide to pitching – our tips
In this episode, we talk pitching – why it’s important to do it, researching markets before you pitch and the many (many!) different types of content or services you could pitch right now. We also look at how often you need to follow up on your pitches, and the importance of having a system for monitoring your pitching efforts.
Episode 3: 6 ways to start future-proofing your freelance business
Work or no work, there are a number of things you can start doing now to future-proof your freelance business. In this episode, we talk about how to navigate the new landscape by expanding your network, reaching out to clients, upskilling and much more.
Episode 2: Survival mode and adjusting to the new normal
It’s easy to get bogged down in despair while in lockdown and feeling like your business is in free fall. But taking steps now to sort out your finances and start thinking about getting your business hat on is what freelancers across the board need to do. We talk about how our week has been and how we’re adjusting to the new state of play.
Episode 1: Freelancing during a crisis – our tips
This week’s events have left people reeling as the world copes with the effects of the coronavirus, or Covid 19. Freelancers in particular feel vulnerable as industries shut down and we all struggle with the uncertainty that has come with this medical crisis. In this week’s episode, we share our thoughts about how to cope, how to help your clients – and how you can find work in a time when it feels like the world has gone mad.
Episode 12: Social media for clients – should you say yes?
For freelance journalists used to long-form writing, taking on social media gigs can give you pause. You might not be sure if you can write bitsy teasers, do hashtag research or check insights on the daily – while others may welcome the change in pace and different style of writing that’s required. In this episode, we talk about what can be involved with ‘doing social’ and how, if you use your time effectively, you can use social media gigs to plug the gaps between long-form work.
Episode 11: Can public speaking become another great income stream for freelancers?
If you’re an established freelancer, public speaking can be a fantastic way to boost your reputation and position yourself as an expert in your field. It can also help bring more work your way and – kaching! – make money. In this episode, we talk about different kinds of public speaking, what public speaking pays, how to get over ‘the fear’ of speaking to an audience, and where to find public speaking opportunities.
Episode 10: Anatomy of a great piece of content (and how to create it)
Writing a good piece of content can be quite different to penning a feature for a magazine. In this episode, we look at how to choose a topic, perform basic keyword research and write a decent headline. Also covered: writing metadata and the call-to-action (CTA) – plus the resources to help you do all of the above!
Episode 9: How exercise can make you a better freelancer
It’s all too easy to embrace a sedentary lifestyle as a freelancer, tapping away on your computer all day. But there are ways to shoehorn movement into your day – and in this episode, we share what works for us and touch on the benefits to your life and your creativity.
Episode 8: Working in-house when you’re freelance – should you?
A lot of us start freelancing so we never have to darken the door of an office again – but what if you miss working alongside a team? Or crave a regular pay-check? Taking occasional in-house stints as a freelancer CAN be hugely beneficial for your cashflow and your visibility (often bringing you more work or new clients). Of course, we touch on the downsides too and other considerations to think about before taking an in-house gig.
Episode 7: Should freelancers work for small businesses or steer clear?
It’s the million-dollar question for any freelancer – do you only chase high-paying clients, or take on the often more piecemeal work offered by small businesses? In this episode, we share the pros and cons to working with small businesses, our own personal strategies around this income stream – and tips for making it work.
Episode 6: How sending newsletters can bring you more work
While you might think your clients are hanging onto your every word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, newsletters are a far superior way to stay in touch (and bring you more offers of work). In this episode, we touch on why newsletters work, platforms to create your newsletter on, lead magnets and more.
Episode 5: Packaging your services as a freelancer
As a freelancer, you’re going to be much more indispensable – and frankly, richer – if you take the time to educate clients about what they need (beyond what they think they need). Doing this is a way of adding value, making your client’s life easier and helping them get a better return on investment. It can also create opportunities to talk about other services or packages you offer. In this episode, we talk about the kind of services to package, and how to do it.
Episode 4: PITA clients – how to spot them and manage them
Most freelancers will stumble on a PITA (pain in the ass) client or ten. These clients may quibble over your rates, try and renegotiate your services, query your invoices or encroach on your personal time (and that’s just for starters). How can you spot PITA clients – and manage them, if you end up working with one? We share our tips in this week’s episode.
Episode 3: Your guide to negotiating retainers with clients
Do you have a client offering you a regular amount of work? It might be worth negotiating a retainer arrangement. In this episode, we talk about how to structure these arrangements and what you need to be aware of.
Episode 2: Why you shouldn’t worry about downturns as a freelancer
The peaks and troughs of freelancing can be overwhelming – so how do you handle them? What should you do during a slow patch? And are economic downturns something to fear? Not necessarily, as we talk about in this week’s episode.
Episode 1: Common website mistakes (and how to avoid making them)
If you’re a freelancer, how well does your website / online portfolio work for you? Does it bring in traffic? Convert leads? Is it something you’re proud to share with clients? If not, don’t stress – it’s not as hard as you might think to improve your website’s look’n’feel and make it more user-friendly. In today’s episode, we run through a checklist of common website design mistakes – and what you can do to fix any that pop up on your site.
Episode 12: How to boost your productivity (to make more money)
Moving from an in-house role to a freelance one is a MASSIVE change. Suddenly, time is money – and productivity is all important in order to make the income you need to get by. In this episode, Lynne and Rachel share their time-saving tips and tricks
Episode 11: How to escape the under-charging trap
It’s all too easy to undersell yourself when you’re freelance. You want the project, and think quoting a little lower is going to do the trick. But sometimes, under-charging can backfire – and actually lose you work. In this episode, we explain how and why you need to price yourself accordingly.
Episode 10: The skills you need as a content writer
Once upon a time, journos simply had to file their copy and that was that. These days, you may be asked to do quite a bit more, especially if you’re writing for digital outlets. Find out what editors and clients tend to expect from content writers these days (and where you might need to upskill).
Episode 9: Finding new income streams as a freelancer
Does reinvention scare the pants off you? You're not alone. Most freelancers find their comfort zone, stay there - and hope the work keeps flowing. But at some point, you may need to use your skills to edge into other areas and embrace new income streams - and in this week's episode, we talk about doing just that.
Episode 8: How to keep content writing clients coming back
What makes you absolutely indispensable as a freelancer? This week’s episode is all about our strategies for adding value, solving your clients’ problems and using your knowledge for suggesting other ways to improve their content or their business (and score yourself more work at the same time).
Episode 7: Why networking is essential for freelancers
First up, we just want to say that this episode has a few technical difficulties at the beginning with the sound – but hang in there. Lots of great info about why freelancers should network, how you can network, and the happy knock-on effect: more work coming your way.
Episode 6: How to find experts and case studies
Finding the right experts and case studies for stories – or the right PRs who can get the ball rolling – can be tricky. In this episode, Lynne and Rachel share the websites and resources they turn to when expert quotes or a great case study is required. Our show notes PDF lists all the resources, so don’t forget to download it at the end!
Episode 5: Here are a few of our favourite things
Finding the tools, services, websites and apps that save you time and help you work more efficiently is essential when you’re a freelancer. Here are a few we’ve found over the years and use consistently to get the job done.
Episode 4: What do editors and content clients want?
Filing great copy is a must if you want ongoing work as a freelancer – but are there other ways to ensure editors and content clients keep coming back? In this episode, we reveal what works for us and what’s generally expected these days in print and digital.
Episode 3: Let’s talk money (without freaking out)
Whether you’re quoting on a project, thinking about raising your rates with clients or negotiating for a higher word rate with an editor, talking about money with ease is a critical skill for freelancers. In this episode we talk about researching market rates, figuring out YOUR rate and how to become more confident discussing dollars and cents.
Episode 2: How to find content writing work
If you’re starting out in content writing or have hit a slow patch as a freelance writer, it can be hard to know what to do and where to turn (hint: it’s NOT to low-paying content mills!). In this episode, we talk about the way we use our networks, leverage social media and employ other tricks in order to land regular, ongoing content writing work.
Episode 1: Hey ho hello! Welcome to The Content Byte
Hosts Rachel Smith (from Rachel’s List) and journalist and content writer Lynne Testoni are serving up weekly short bites of advice, tips and strategies for freelancers who make a living from using their words. We’re shooting for 10-minute episodes, but can’t promise anything because we can both talk the leg off a chair.